Cllr Steve McBride, Alliance Party spokesman on Justice and Human Rights has criticised government proposals to amend the forthcoming Parades legislation to require objectors to give two weeks notice of protests against marches.
Cllr McBride said:
“The Parades legislation now before Parliament is extremely important, but the latest proposed government amendment is unwise, unworkable, and unhelpful. It seeks to throw a sop to Unionists by drawing a false comparison between marchers and protesters which will not be in any way helpful in resolving these difficult situations. Those who organise marches are part of organisations and obviously make their plans in advance – they can reasonable be expected to give notice in good time. Protests on the other hand can emerge at short notice and are not normally organised by formal organisations, and of course protesters are in any event covered by general public order legislation. To effectively make illegal a protest for which two weeks notice has not been given is an infringement of civil liberties and one which will simply lead to increased tension and argument. This vital legislation on a crucial issue should not be endangered by this spurious and misguided political juggling act.”